Tuesday, September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023

Fulford-Swartz summer schedule in effect June 28

Starting next week, BC Ferries hopes more sailings in and out of Fulford Harbour will help alleviate growing system strain, as Salt Spring heads into the “peak” summer season. 

The new 10-sailing plan — nine on Sundays — starts Wednesday, June 28, with first sailings most days departing Fulford at 6 a.m. for Swartz Bay, and the last chance for Salt Spring passengers to return home departing Swartz Bay at 10 p.m. 

The structure, according to fleet deployment and scheduling manager Steve Anderson, builds five round-trips into each crew shift — up from four, and a “tight fit,” he told Salt Spring’s Ferry Advisory Committee in April, but the best chance at relieving line-up congestion at Fulford. 

BC Transit said it would make changes to better align with the ferry schedule, with a bus generally arriving at Fulford a few minutes before sailings; all trip time changes will be reflected in the new Rider’s Guide on the Salt Spring page of BC Transit’s website.

Added sailings from Fulford come on the heels of an announcement of the highest vehicle traffic numbers ever recorded, as BC Ferries released fiscal year-end figures through March 31. System-wide, BC Ferries carried 9.4 million vehicles and 21.6 million passengers last year — a new record for vehicles, and an increase of 11 and 21 per cent respectively, compared to the same period in the prior year. Those vehicles and passengers were carried on 86,835 round trips, an increase of more than 4,000 trips over the prior year. 

A Driftwood analysis of fuel consumption found the two added Fulford-Swartz Bay round-trips each day — plus one added on Sundays — will consume nearly 95,000 additional litres across the 126 planned “extra” sailings between June 28 and Sept. 4. That’s enough fuel to drive a typical school bus from Vancouver to Montreal and back — more than 17 times, per Natural Resources Canada data. 

On average, according to BC Ferries’ fuel consumption data for 2020 released under a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act request, the 92-vehicle-capacity Skeena Queen uses roughly 750 litres of fuel per round trip on Route 4 between Fulford Harbour and Swartz Bay. 


  1. For one, the extra sailing at the ends are never full. It will not help with the high demand of the mid morning and the later afternoon. My question is , how come Quadra has 2 ferries service. One leaving Campbell River and the other one leaving Quadra simultaneously every 1/2 hour. For a population of 2 thousand plus people now that’s service. That is what Fulford needs.


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